Pape coming along

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

One is the loneliest number, according to an old song by Three Dog Night. But according to Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, one is the number upon which a raw rookie like Pape Sow should concentrate.

"The problem with young guys is, they want to work on every (offensive) move," Mitchell said. "Just get one to start with. Make people have to defend one.

"It's something we have to ingrain in him, that you don't have to have the full arsenal right away."

Mitchell knows Sow, a 6-foot-10 centre/forward, is far more comfortable on the defensive end of the court than he is at the offensive end. So when Sow is seen working on a wide array of things during practices, Mitchell will step in and narrow the focus.

"We stop him and try to get him to concentrate on one thing," Mitchell said. "As a player you want to be complete and work on everything, and you do have to work on all aspects. But if he could get one go-to move, that would accelerate his progress a lot."

Mitchell has a real-life example from his own lengthy playing career of how doing just one thing very well can keep an opponent off-balance.

"People used to say I only could go right," Mitchell said. "But I could go right so well, when they jumped and over-exaggerated to take away my right hand, as bad as I was going to my left, I could take one or two dribbles and lay the ball in with my left. So that just opened up other aspects of my game."

DON'T GO WEST

The Raptors' horrific loss to the Memphis Grizzlies last night stood out in light of the fact the Raptors have played fairly well against the mighty Western Conference this season, posting a 13-17 record. Of course, that means the Raptors are 17-27 in their own conference, which supposedly is the weaker of the two.

"It's probably because we like to get up and down the court," Mitchell said when asked to explain the numbers. "It's probably our lack of defence. We're not the greatest of defensive teams, and a lot of teams in the West have been accused of that, too. It doesn't mean we want to go out West, though."

Based on last night, that's good thinking.


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